So why did I join up? Like many lay Catholics, I have often felt intense exasperation at the negative portrayal of the Church in mainstream media. Some of this is down to genuine misunderstanding by journalists. Some of it - less than some conspiracy theorists would have you believe - is due to wilful misconstrual of the Church's position. But, mainly, the bad publicity is simply down to the Church not doing a very good job of explaining its position. Sometimes, spokesmen (and, regrettably, it is mainly men) use arcane and abstruse language. Sometimes, the tone can seem harsh and hostile. Sometimes, there is, perhaps a reticence and timidity about articulating what, after all, is a really powerful and wonderful message. Catholic Voices, I felt, offered an exciting opportunity to address this situation.
Two things in particular attracted me to the project. The first was its vision of the Church. The Church is not conceived as the clergy or the hierarchy, but as the whole people of God. Of this, the laity form a vital and integral part. But the corollary of this vision is that the laity can't take the easy, lazy route of hurling in the ditch, lamenting the Church's plight, and bashing the bishops. They too, need to take responsibility for getting the message out.
The second attractive aspect of the project was its positive view of the media. Too often, Church communications founder on the misportrayal of journalists as villains and scoundrels. The media are not the enemy. They are not 'out to get us'. Most journalists take seriously their vocation to report honestly and fairly, to facilitate debate, and enable the national conversation.
Thursday, 16 September 2010
CV Jim Carr in the Irish Catholic: